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Gordy Series welcomes Kittredge, on women in sports

 

As part of the Gordy Honors College Forum Series at Mississippi University for Women, Dr. Katherine Kittredge, pictured, will discuss women in sports Thursday at 6 p.m. in Poindexter Hall. The program is free to the public.

As part of the Gordy Honors College Forum Series at Mississippi University for Women, Dr. Katherine Kittredge, pictured, will discuss women in sports Thursday at 6 p.m. in Poindexter Hall. The program is free to the public.
Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

 

Special to The Dispatch

 

On Thursday, March 6 the Gordy Honors College at Mississippi University for Women welcomes Dr. Katherine Kittredge to its Forum Series. The series continues its focus on sports with Dr. Kittredge's presentation "My So-called Sporting Life; What Women can Gain (and Lose) from Playing Sports." The presentation begins at 6 p.m. in Poindexter Hall. It is is free and open to the public.  

 

Dr. Kittredge's presentation will reflect on her experiences as a female athlete at a time before Title IX expanded athletic opportunities for women in America.  

 

"My experiences growing up as a pre-Title IX woman who loved to play sports were radically different from those of contemporary female athletes. I never had a coach, never went to a try-out, and didn't play on a "real" team until I was a starting varsity soccer player in college." She compares that experience to the current athletic culture which increasingly emphasizes competition and the professionalization of athletics. 

 

Kittredge has remained active in sports her entire life. As a mother of two, she became the only female player in the men's "beer leagues" in Binghamton, NY. She has continued to study and research the culture of sports in America. She noted, "As a Women's Studies professor, I was fascinated by the unwritten codes and ultra-macho culture that is part of men's recreational hockey."  

 

She has also worked professionally in helping athletes transition from high school sports to college level sports. "My interest in athletic cultures led to my working with an Ithaca College colleague, Steve Mosher (a renowned expert in youth sports and sport in popular culture), to design a course that would aid our student athletes in making the transition from high school to college sports." 

 

Her work has found that all sports participation in youth sports is not positive and can even be detrimental, especially for young women.  

 

Kittredge commented, "Through my students' conversations in class and their personal writing I heard tales of abusive sports parents and bullying coaches, and learned about the ways that sports can lead to reduced self-esteem, permanent physical disabilities, and a willingness to compromise on basic moral values. In this talk I will discuss my non-traditional route to being a lifelong athlete, and I will also look at some of the issues that arise in our current sports culture, the way that abusive behaviors are reinforced by popular images of athletes and athletic training, and suggest strategies to help young female athletes overcome the damage done by their earlier sports experiences so they can go on to lead a long and joyous athletic life." 

 

Dr. Kittredge is a professor of English at Ithica College in New York. Her participation in the Forum Series is made possible by the Gordy Honors College Foundation grant. She will be available after the presentation to answer questions and meet members of the audience. 

 

For more information, contact Dr. Thomas Velek at tvelek@ms.muw.edu or 662-241-6850.

 

 

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